A fresh bid to build a £70 million waste incinerator in rural Perthshire looks set to be waved through by councillors next week after a predicted wave of protest failed to materialise.
It comes after the Binn Group rekindled its proposal for a huge energy-from-waste plant at its Glenfarg base.
The plan, which will create around 200 construction jobs and 30 permanent posts, has won crucial backing from Perth and Kinross Council planners who confirmed nobody had objected.
It is in stark contrast to the original bid, first mooted more than a decade ago, which prompted demonstrations from residents and environmental groups, as well as 250 objections and a petition signed by nearly 500 people.
When the latest plans were lodged, local Green MSP Mark Ruskell warned “there were huge concerns about this plant when it was first proposed and nothing has changed in the meantime to mitigate those concerns.”
The 2006 plan was eventually backed by councillors, but was never built.
Binn Group bosses want to increase the plant’s capacity by more than 40% from 60,000 tonnes to 84,500 tonnes each year.
Chief executive Allan MacGregor said the scheme at the firm’s 200-acre Eco Park site was crucial to meet demand for a lower carbon solution to local waste issues.
A Scottish Government ban on waste being sent to landfill, which is expected to be enforced in the next few years, has made it more urgent then ever, project leaders say.
Designs for the new building show a 70m chimney stack for emissions on the southern end of the 200-acre site.
Once built, the incinerator could last for 30 years. Around 1.3MW of electricity generated would be used to power the facility, while around 7.3MW would feed the National Grid.
The plant is expected to take waste from councils across Scotland.
The council’s head of planning and development David Littlejohn said the construction phase could generate a £2.8 million boost to the local economy.
“It is concerned that it will not have any significantly adverse effect on tourism locally, or on the wider Perth and Kinross area,” he said.
“The proposal represents a significant capital investment in Perth and Kinross. It will have a significant positive effect on the economy and the local area through income generation, value added and employment opportunities.”
SEPA has reviewed the designs and stated that the 70m chimney would be “satisfactory”. The organisation has asked for a planning condition to ensure that the stack is no taller than 70m.
Although there were no formal objections, Earn Community Council wrote to planners with questions about air quality and noise pollution.
Binn Group’s planning application is due to go before members of the Planning and Development Committee on Tuesday.